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Vail Resorts acquires Northstar At Tahoe

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

It was announced today that Vail Resorts has acquired Northstar, and that all the Epic Passes will be good for unlimited skiing/riding there and at Sierra at Tahoe. Here is the text of the release-

 

Vail Resorts Announces New Benefits for its Lake Tahoe Season Pass Programs in Conjunction with the Company's Acquisition of the Northstar-at-Tahoe(TM) Mountain Resort

 

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Oct 25, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ -- Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) today announced that it has closed on the acquisition of Northstar-at-Tahoe(TM) Resort in Lake Tahoe, Calif., one of the premier mountain resort destinations in North America. As part of the acquisition, Vail Resorts is also announcing significant added value for all of its pass holders for the 2010-2011 winter season.

"We are thrilled by the opportunity to bring Northstar-at-Tahoe into our family of world-class mountain resorts and offer our most loyal guests even greater value on their skiing and riding this winter," said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. "We've taken the best deal in skiing and made it even more compelling, as the Epic Season Pass will now offer eight great resorts for the 2010-2011 ski season. We also have added access to more resorts for both Northstar and Heavenly pass holders and have even offered new value for our Colorado Pass holders, with five days of skiing at either Heavenly or Northstar. Skiers and riders want more choices and better value and our acquisition of Northstar-at-Tahoe is all about delivering that for our guests."

 

Epic Season Pass:

  • Epic Season Pass: The revolutionary Epic Season Pass features unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado and Heavenly in California/Nevada at $629 for adults and $329 for children (ages 5-12) through Nov. 7, when sales end. Epic Pass holders will now also receive unlimited, unrestricted access to Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe - eight great resorts in total for the 2010-2011 ski season.
  • Epic 7-Pack: New this season, the Epic 7-Pack features seven days of unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Heavenly at $479 for adults and $239 for children through Nov. 7, when sales end. The Epic 7-Pack can now be used at Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe for the 2010-2011 ski season as well.

 

Northstar-at-Tahoe 2010-2011 Season Passes:

  • Double Whammy Unlimited-Adult: The Double Whammy Unlimited Pass offers unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe resorts at $799 for adults. Existing pass holders will be able to exchange their Double Whammy Unlimited Pass for the Epic Season Pass ($629) and receive a refund for the difference in the price (over $100 in most cases). Moving forward, we will promote the purchase of the Adult Epic Season Pass, providing unlimited and unrestricted skiing and riding at eight resorts at a much lower price than the Adult Double Whammy Unlimited.
  • Double Whammy Unlimited-Teen/Child: Offering unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Northstar and Sierra, the price of the teen ($449) and child ($119) pass will remain unchanged. Teens will have the option to upgrade to an adult Epic Season Pass. Children will have the option to upgrade to a Child Epic Season Pass or a Child Heavenly Pass.
  • Double Whammy Limited: The Double Whammy Limited offers skiing and riding at Northstar all season long with 10 restricted dates and unlimited, unrestricted skiing at Sierra at $519 for adults and $299 for teens. Adult pass holders will now receive skiing and riding at Heavenly, with the same restricted dates as Northstar. Teens will have the option to upgrade to a Teen Heavenly Pass at $309.
  • Double Whammy Value: The Double Whammy Value offers skiing and riding at Northstar and Sierra with some restricted dates and no access to Northstar on Saturdays between Dec. 18, 2010 and March 26, 2011. Pass holders will now also have access to Heavenly with the same restricted dates. The pass price is $419 for adults.
  • Northstar Only Pass: The Northstar Only Pass offers skiing and riding at Northstar on weekdays only at $319 for adults; not valid at Heavenly.
  • Sierra Only Pass: Will remain valid at Sierra; not valid at Heavenly, Northstar or other resorts.

 

Heavenly 2010-2011 Season Passes:

  • Heavenly Pass: Ski and ride at Heavenly all season long at $379 for adults, $309 for teens and $199 for children. Some restricted dates apply. Heavenly Passes will now offer access to Northstar and Sierra with some restricted dates; not valid at Northstar on Saturdays from Dec. 18, 2010 through March 26, 2011.

 

Colorado 2010-2011 Season Passes:

  • Colorado Pass: The Colorado Pass features unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin and 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek at $479 for adults, $359 for teens and $239 for children through Nov. 7, when sales end. Some restricted dates apply at Vail and Beaver Creek. The Colorado Pass will now feature five free days of skiing and riding at either Heavenly or Northstar; some restricted dates apply.
  • Summit Pass: The Summit Pass offers unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. $429 for adults, $339 for teens and $229 for children through Nov. 7, when sales end. Not valid at Vail, Beaver Creek, Heavenly, Northstar or Sierra.

 

EpicMix:

  • A new online and mobile application that offers skiers and riders a seamless and effortless way to digitally capture and share their mountain experience, EpicMix will be available for guests at Northstar at the start of the 2011-2012 season. EpicMix automatically collects the ski and ride stats of guests throughout each of its resorts, by leveraging Vail Resorts' state-of-the-art radio frequency (RF) scanners installed at each of its 89 lifts across Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly. An RF-enabled chip embedded in Vail Resorts' season passes and PEAKS lift tickets will automatically track guests' lift rides, calculating vertical feet skied and days on the mountain and will recognize special achievements and accomplishments by granting guests commemorative, collectible digital pins. EpicMix will have hundreds of available digital pins for a multitude of unique experiences available at each resort.

In the coming weeks, the Company will also be announcing new benefits and programs for purchasers of daily lift tickets at both Northstar and Heavenly. For additional details, please visit www.epicpass.com or call 1-800-842-8062 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-800-842-8062      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. 

post #2 of 23

Vail Resorts buys Northstar at Tahoe for $63 million from Booth Creek Resort Properties 10/25/10

 

What do you think of the acquisition? What impact will this have?

 

 

http://www.rgj.com/article/20101025/BIZ/101025052/1321/NEWS

 

...Vail Resorts acquired the stock of the companies that operate Northstar-at-Tahoe from Booth Creek Resort Properties, LLC and other sellers for total consideration of $63 million.

 

...The operations of Northstar-at-Tahoe are conducted on land owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. which will be leased to Vail Resorts under a long-term lease agreement with 16 years remaining, plus three 10-year extensions, said Kelly Ladyga, vice president of corporate communications for Vail Resorts.

 

...Encompassed in the acquisition, of which Vail Resorts will take sole ownership, are all mountain operations of Northstar-at-Tahoe, all commercial space in the base village, and Northstar Property Management, Ladyga said.

 

...Management and ownership of the Ritz Carlton will remain unchanged.

 

...Sierra-at-Tahoe, which operates a season-pass deal and other partnerships with Northstar, is not part of the acquisition and will continue to be operated by Booth Creek.

 

 

 

http://www.sierrasun.com/article/20101025/NEWS/101029931/

 

...On March 31, Bank of America filed a notice of default against the Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, the luxury resort at Northstar that was managed by East West. Then in May, a lending group that included Bank of America took over ownership of the Ritz to allow East West to recover and reorganize.

 

...Chris Ryman, president/partner of Booth Creek, and Betsy Cole, chief financial officer/partner of Booth Creek, in a joint statement. “We are proud to have been associated with such a talented group of individuals.” George Gillett, chief executive officer of Booth Creek, as well as Ryman and Cole, will no longer have management positions at Northstar-at-Tahoe, Ladyga confirmed Monday.

 

 

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2010/10/25/vail-resorts-buys-califs.html

 

...The announcement comes less than three weeks after Vail Resorts the Broomfield-based company (NYSE: MTN) bought Accommodation Station, the third-largest property management company in the South Lake Tahoe area.

 

...Northstar-at-Tahoe offers 19 lifts and 92 ski trails on roughly 3,000 acres that also include seven terrain parks and areas for winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

 

...The resort hosted more than 700,000 skier visits during the 2009-10 season.

 

...The resort also is host to a new base area that includes a conference center, on-site lodging and more than 100,000 square feet of commercial retail space.

 

 

 

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/vail-resorts-announces-new-benefits-for-its-lake-tahoe-season-pass-programs-in-conjunction-with-the-companys-acquisition-of-the-northstar-at-tahoetm-mountain-resort-2010-10-25

 

...Double Whammy Unlimited-Adult: Existing pass holders will be able to exchange their Double Whammy Unlimited Pass for the Epic Season Pass ($629) and receive a refund for the difference in the price (over $100 in most cases).

 

...Epic Pass holders will now also receive unlimited, unrestricted access to Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe - eight great resorts in total for the 2010-2011 ski season. Epic Season Pass previously featured unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado and Heavenly in California/Nevada.

 

 

 

More articles at http://news.google.com/news/search?&ned=us&hl=en&q=vail+northstar

post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkierScott View Post

Vail Resorts buys Northstar at Tahoe for $63 million from Booth Creek Resort Properties 10/25/10

 

What do you think of the acquisition? What impact will this have?

 

It isn't like George Gillett didn't know anyone at Vail! 

 

The impact I think is obvious.  Vail Resorts can now offer a lot more bang for the buck.  One seasons pass get access to more ski areas in two states.  Eventually, that should also help real estate sales, and operating costs will drop.  Now, will Vail Resorts start seeding clouds in Lake Tahoe?

post #4 of 23

Wow, I have an unlimigted double whammy group pass that cost $399.  I wonder where that leaves me?  Looks like I can add Heavenly to my list this winter, and it should make the EpicSki gathering in April a mostly paid deal as well.  Cool!

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

Wow, I have an unlimigted double whammy group pass that cost $399.  I wonder where that leaves me?  Looks like I can add Heavenly to my list this winter, and it should make the EpicSki gathering in April a mostly paid deal as well.  Cool!



Hmmmm. Could we? Should we???

post #6 of 23

I hate the word "gamechanger".  This will be a gamechanger for Tahoe.

 

We're on autopilot now for 10/11, but I think this acquisition was done at the right time.  It gives the new senior leadership a few months to adjust to their surroundings while operations go on.  I think East West operates the base area, so that should be business as usual.  

 

All in all, I think this is a great fit and makes a bit more sense than the original Heavenly purchase.  The new village meshes nicely with other Vail properties.  The opening of the Ritz raises the bar on future real estate offerings.  Vail and East West have a long history, so there's a good foundation there.  

 

Now, what does it mean for Tahoe?  Well, I think we're seeing Vail's strategy now: find a tight market, dramatically increase sales, and then sit back and watch the money roll in.  There's been other resorts on the auction block recently and Vail could have picked up something else if it was really interested in making a purchase.  With two resorts at Tahoe and a pass program in place for Sierra, they can really put some pressure on others in the area.  If I was at Squaw I'd be nervous.  I think we'll see some season pass wars flare up, partnerships between other areas, and maybe some other areas change hands.  I wouldn't be surprised if Vail tries to make another purchase at Tahoe.  

post #7 of 23

I believe this will put some pressure on the Tahoe resorts that don't have accommodations as they don't have the same amount of revenue sources. Vail, once they bought Breck, Keystone, etc showed years ago in Summit County, that lift ticket price reductions can get people to come stay at their resorts. Good for the consumer, but tough to compete against.

post #8 of 23

My mistake, the DW Group pass is a limited, so looks like I get Heavenly, but not the Colorado resorts.  Still a decent deal, but would be nice if it could be upgraded.

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHoback View Post

I believe this will put some pressure on the Tahoe resorts that don't have accommodations as they don't have the same amount of revenue sources. Vail, once they bought Breck, Keystone, etc showed years ago in Summit County, that lift ticket price reductions can get people to come stay at their resorts. Good for the consumer, but tough to compete against.


I don't know. Tahoe is not a destination area. Bay area weekenders make up a fair chunk of the visit.

 

Sure, a lift price war would pull skiers one way or another. But I'm not 100% sure Vail Reosrt will see the same revenue increase from their on mountain real estate when the demographic is different.

 

Another factor of the Tahoe area: it's really a summer playground with (much smaller in scale) skiing in the winter. Unlike the CO resorts, who main attraction is skiing. So how the real estate scence would play out is not so clear...

 


 

post #10 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post




I don't know. Tahoe is not a destination area. Bay area weekenders make up a fair chunk of the visit.

 

Sure, a lift price war would pull skiers one way or another. But I'm not 100% sure Vail Reosrt will see the same revenue increase from their on mountain real estate when the demographic is different.

 

Another factor of the Tahoe area: it's really a summer playground with (much smaller in scale) skiing in the winter. Unlike the CO resorts, who main attraction is skiing. So how the real estate scence would play out is not so clear...



Not sure where you pulled out your facts, but try again. Lake Tahoe receives visitors internationally and from across the U.S.  It is a different experience from Colorado, and depending on what you enjoy can be much more diverse.  This whole acquisition is about capitalizing on some of the unrealized assets of the region and to diversify holdings in a way that when Colorado gets skunked by the snow, there is a place to go ski with your Epic Pass that offers more than one mountain.  Northstar and Heavenly are not exactly weekend hangouts for the Bay-Area crowd any more than Park City and Canyons attracts the Salt Lake City crowd, or Vail, and Keystone are for Denver.  I just don't know where you got this stuff.

post #11 of 23

What did Vail Resorts actually buy. East West and individual owners, own the real estate. C&L owns all the physical assets of the company. Vail only owns the management function of the mountain...and for $63,000,000. I hope they are not the new Interwest.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

Wow, I have an unlimigted double whammy group pass that cost $399.  I wonder where that leaves me?  Looks like I can add Heavenly to my list this winter, and it should make the EpicSki gathering in April a mostly paid deal as well.  Cool!





Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post





Hmmmm. Could we? Should we???


Do you guys need a double dog dare?

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post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

Not sure where you pulled out your facts, but try again. Lake Tahoe receives visitors internationally and from across the U.S.  It is a different experience from Colorado, and depending on what you enjoy can be much more diverse.  This whole acquisition is about capitalizing on some of the unrealized assets of the region and to diversify holdings in a way that when Colorado gets skunked by the snow, there is a place to go ski with your Epic Pass that offers more than one mountain.  Northstar and Heavenly are not exactly weekend hangouts for the Bay-Area crowd any more than Park City and Canyons attracts the Salt Lake City crowd, or Vail, and Keystone are for Denver.  I just don't know where you got this stuff.


Not "facts", just observation. The 3 years I skied there, most people I met on lifts are Bay Area weekenders (even though most of the staff are Aussie)! That's where I "got this stuff"! Perhaps you have the numbers indicating otherwise?

 

You can't compare SLC, never mind Park City to the Bay area population! How does the population of Denver stack up against SF and SJ?

 

There's no doubt international visitors in Tahoe, just like anywhere else. But their representation is not the same as CO. It may make sense for Vail Resort after all. It remains to be seen given the different demographic.
 

post #14 of 23

Interesting. In the Tahoe region, the different areas attract different types of skiers, partly due to terrain differences which are dramatic, partly due to the customers appreciation of management traits and apre ski ammenities. Northstar has always been managed well, and is good for intermediate and advanced skiers due to excellent grooming and snow making. Squaw will always have their own crowd as they have the terrain. Squaw has offered early purchase deals on season passes to increase their foundation. My feeling is with two major players in the area now, many smaller areas had better start earning with condos, or something, or they are gonna' perish.

post #15 of 23




 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post




1) I don't know. Tahoe is not a destination area. Bay area weekenders make up a fair chunk of the visit.

 

2) Sure, a lift price war would pull skiers one way or another. But I'm not 100% sure Vail Reosrt will see the same revenue increase from their on mountain real estate when the demographic is different.

 

3) Another factor of the Tahoe area: it's really a summer playground with (much smaller in scale) skiing in the winter. Unlike the CO resorts, who main attraction is skiing. So how the real estate scence would play out is not so clear...

 


 

 

1) It may not be a traditional destination area like Colorado, Wyoming, etc. but it is a "destination" for people in California & Nevada. Plenty of Bay Area & beyond people go to Tahoe as a destination since it is a world apart from where they live without the airfare.

 

2) I'm not sure of the exact size, nor who owns what (lifts, village, condos, HOA's) in the Northstar community, but it is only @ 1/3 built out of what was originally allocated.

 

3) The Lake Tahoe area  is unique since it has both a summer & winter offering, and also a winter & summer customer following. Whereas most ski areas are fairly empty in the summer, Tahoe is consistently busy except during the bridge seasons.

 

One of my original points was that if Northstar/Heavenly have the lowest ticket prices and also have the most amenities, then the other small ski areas are going to have to get creative in drawing customers as they can only lower their ticket prices so much.
 

post #16 of 23

The most impacted player in this transaction is Sierra at Tahoe.  Now THAT is a local's ski area, and has consistently drawn in good numbers due to being close to Sacramento and good pass deals.  They had the package deal with NorthStar (Double Whammy), but my observation is relatively few people divide their time between the two, and the two resorts couldn't be more different in vibe and amenities.  Sierra will do just fine without Northstar, and the Northstar/Heavenly alliance makes a lot more sense than Northstar/Sierra. 

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHoback View Post

3) The Lake Tahoe area  is unique since it has both a summer & winter offering, and also a winter & summer customer following. Whereas most ski areas are fairly empty in the summer, Tahoe is consistently busy except during the bridge seasons.

 

One of my original points was that if Northstar/Heavenly have the lowest ticket prices and also have the most amenities, then the other small ski areas are going to have to get creative in drawing customers as they can only lower their ticket prices so much.
 


Tahoe is actually way busier in the summer than in winter!

 

I maybe wrong but I got the impression there's already excess lodging in the area in the winter. Even though not all the summer cottages operate in winter, there're still more rooms than skiers. That kept lodging rate relatively affordable. The only exception is actual on-mountain lodging: walk to lift, which demands premium rates. 

 

What's different in Colorado is a lot of people fly in, take the shuttle to the mountain, stay there and ski there. Never needing a car. But with the Tahoe visitors mostly come in by car, how much on-mountain lodging can demand remains to be seen. 

 

I do agree the Northstar-Heavenly combo being a good one for VR. I'm not so sure the rest of the Tahoe area are all that challenged though. Each area have their own fairly loyal followers...

 


 

post #18 of 23



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

My mistake, the DW Group pass is a limited, so looks like I get Heavenly, but not the Colorado resorts.  Still a decent deal, but would be nice if it could be upgraded.

The policy at Vail Resorts has always been to upgrade / downgrade passes.  I would make the call to the Vail Resorts Customer Service Center and ask. Go to www.snow.com and click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.  I have always found them to be very good on the phones.

 

If you (and Phil...........uh Tricia ?) are thinking at all about heading east (that sounds weird) to attend The Gathering, the Epic Pass at  $ 629 for the season for all the Colorado and Cali areas would make a lot of sense.

 

I gotta go check my airline miles.  5 days on my Colorado Pass at Heavenly and Northstar......hummmmmmmmm......

 

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Louie View Post

I gotta go check my airline miles.  5 days on my Colorado Pass at Heavenly and Northstar......hummmmmmmmm......
 

 

We've got some extra airline points just aching to be used . . .so where's a good place to stay close to Northstar?  Recommendations, please?!
 

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarCube View Post



 

We've got some extra airline points just aching to be used . . .so where's a good place to stay close to Northstar?  Recommendations, please?!
 


If you don't want to stay in Northstar itself, Truckee is close.

 

1 thing that was less than ideal when I lived in Nor Cal was that most of the Tahoe resorts were on separate passes...prices were competitive, but except for the double whammy and the Sugarwood pass, you could never get more than 1 resort...now the Epic offers 3 Tahoe resorts (plus the 5 in CO which may or may not appeal to the Bay Area weekenders)...

post #21 of 23

Sure am going to miss going to sierra after this season's pass expires. hissyfit.gif

 

But heavenly will be a nice addition, as where I stay, I could get to heavenly in around 5 minutes, if not less smile.gif

post #22 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarCube View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Louie View Post

I gotta go check my airline miles.  5 days on my Colorado Pass at Heavenly and Northstar......hummmmmmmmm......
 

 

We've got some extra airline points just aching to be used . . .so where's a good place to stay close to Northstar?  Recommendations, please?!
 

One of the nice things Tahoe has to offer since it does have a rather large summer following is pretty good value on winter lodging. There are plenty of houses available at good rates (actually some of the best ski values in the country) all around the lake.You can stay right in Northstar or just over Brockway Summit on the Kings Beach side. If you stay on the Kings Beach side, you are a little closer to Mt Rose, Diamond Peak & Heavenly.
 

post #23 of 23

definitely deals to be had mid-week

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